The shift, the personal and social transformation that so many -- especially young people -- hope for (and deserve), will be found in the simple conviction that the person is the nexus of change and evolution. This collective shift to a "personal" understanding of history and every social relationship opens the "wisdom door" through which we may choose to advance -- an advance which is of vital importance for the preservation of life upon this precious blue Planet. The dominator paradigm, with its justifications of exploitation, injustice, oppression, inequality, violence -- and especially the religious "theological" marginalization of women -- has put both civilization and this Planet at risk of collapse into chaos. Young people especially are aware that life -- the system -- is not working: they are beginning to intuit that every one of the "old masters" who have served the dominator paradigm "so well" must be sloughed off like tired old dead skin...
Theodore Roszak wrote, "Begin with the person and you make an end of ideology, an end of political rhetoric generally." The root of both history and civilization is the person: more specifically, the root is you and I: you, with your name, with your face, with your body, with your sexuality, with your mind, with your soul, with your dreams and imagination, with your ideas, and with your every possibility for fully developing in life: towards your liberation: along with everyone else. Everyone of us has a name and a face: everyone of us has incredible potential for development, service, and liberation: we have each appeared on the stage of life as a person.
This essential -- core -- realization necessitates a second corresponding realization: we are all in this together. There will be no "happy ending" to the play of life upon this Planet, or to the final story of humanity, without this realization: and a politics that flows directly from it. If we correctly understand politics to be the dynamism of every "rub" in relationship -- and not simply the quest for position and power in electoral office -- we can change course and construct a network of relations that serves both the Planet and our personal dreams of full development and liberation. Every political conversation -- from this new perspective -- will now be different: it will be radical: it will go to the roots of our social problems with vigor and courage and cease the mindless patter of the servants of greed, power, and privilege.
Every page on this website is as a sort of "dance to the music" of "personalism unleashed": the collective shift into an economics of sustainability, solidarity, and mutual aid; a politics of service and liberation; a spirituality of everyday kindness, equality, the divine feminine, and the practice of justice and mercy; and a culture of beauty, imagination, harmlessness. Of course, the joy of dance is the joy of partnerships: the dawning age of "personalism unleashed" is the bliss of life lived on the ragged-edge of hope and possibility: a mystic-activist communion of delight... with only one question for you: what are you waiting for?
Live in the opening where there is no door to hide behind. -- Rumi the Ecstatic
All the many "eyes of the heart" can see into -- and through -- the soul and then on into the Infinite: this is the "opening" where there is no door to hide behind. The mystic quest is to access this opening, and then to set up the "housekeeping" of a base camp there to further explore the surrounding terrain... There are a number of "mystic essentials" to even approach that "opening"...
In considering these mystic essentials, begin by intently gazing upon the peacock pictured above: look at it deeply... let your gaze take in as much as it can... rest in that gaze for a few minutes... Isn't the peacock an incredibly beautiful bird? Now: gaze just as intently into a mirror: look deeply... let your gaze take in as much as it can... SERIOUSLY: rest in that gaze for a few minutes: Now: see yourself as the Holy One sees you (not the god of the dominator paradigm who wants you to keep buying your shortcomings and failures and mistakes -- so as to stay in business): but see yourself as the One Love Consciousness sees you: you are, right now, an original blessing: you are, right now, a beautiful and sacred being with infinite possibilities for giving and receiving Love...
Adoration of the Holy begins with a deep, interior, bow to your own being: you have been created in the image of the One: with the very same capacity to Love; there has never been, nor will there ever be, another being exactly as you! Holy Moly! You really are special! This is the root, the beginning, of every good. Kindness towards others -- the full flowering of empathy and compassion -- is a great hunger of the human heart: how can anyone love another if he / she despises him / her self? It is always an overwhelming feeling of unworthiness and unloveability that creates chaos, destruction, injustice, oppression, exploitation, and violence... "Religions" step into this "void of chaos" to both affirm ones core unworthiness and then offer a corresponding means for "salvation": but as agents of the dominator paradigm, they can not offer either liberation or bliss -- just the "hope" that if one shuts down enough to follow "the program", maybe there will be a "heaven" sometime later (and at least half of the joy of heaven will be the knowledge that countless others will in fact be unworthy forever... and will suffer unending pain...). It may be very hard, but you have got to put aside every temptation to believe anything about your self other than "You were created by Love, for Love, to become Love": say it every day as your Sacred Intention until you know its truth: "I have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love"... say it, say it, say it over and over and over again until the rhythm of the words become even as an intimate particle with your every breath...
When you know the truth of this mystic essential as your self-identification, your life will truly begin to blossom! It doesn't matter what you look like... it doesn't matter how much you know -- and even less of who you know... it doesn't matter what your story has been: because now you are becoming a co-creator with the Holy One in re-creating every aspect of your life: this re-creation circles back to kindness -- to empathy and compassion -- for when you know yourself as of, by, and for Love, you know the "activist essential": so is everyone else! Now you will begin to live -- in the Holy Competition of Loving Loudly! Love is always about the good of the "other": in justice, equality, liberation, kindness, and beauty. For the mystic-activist, with one foot placed on the solid ground of "Rumi-Time", the other continues its daily walk of personal, social, religious, political, and economic transformation: imagine how much different life on this precious blue Planet would be if all of us were engaged in the Holy Competion of who can love more? Who can lead in implementing justice? Who can create the most opportunities for the full development and liberation of every person? Who can transform into Love Without Limits first?
Adore this: surrender to this: become this: enter the Bliss of your Divine Potential: let your Today = Rumi-Time... and you will become -- as you were meant to be: a "guardian" of the future, of every child, and of this precious blue Planet...
God is voluptuous and delicious! -- Meister Eckhart
All of Creation -- from atoms to far distant stars, from the smallest creature to human consciousness -- is the "living delight" of Radiant Beauty: the Source, the One Love, who is always both transcendent and immanent...
Our human condition is such that we live "veiled" from our essential dignity and true nature: to remove every veil is the mystic journey: to assist in everyone's liberation is the activist's life: uniting these two streams is the task of 21st century "religion".
We must begin with a new mystic-activist orientation. Consider again Meister Eckhart: "If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature -- even a caterpillar -- I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature... Where there is isness, there God is... Love God as God is: a pure, clear One who is separate from all twoness... We are all meant to be mothers of God... Compassion clothes the soul with the robe of God and divinely adorns it... Compassion means justice...You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion... At every deed, however puny, that results in justice, God is made glad, glad through and through. At such a time there is nothing in the core of the Godhead that is not tickled through and through and that does not dance for joy..."
We continue our journey to the Paradise of Communion and Liberation by walking directly into the Light. The only "gatekeeper" is the Question of the Holy Grail: Whom does the grail serve? "Religion" must finally come to grips with this question! "Politics" must come to grips with this question! "Economics" must come to grips with this question! "Culture" must come to grips with this question! And finally, each one of us as individuals, must take up this question: and answer with a willingness to explore every personal possibility for transformation and the rEvolution of this precious blue Planet: this is our destiny!
This discovery awaits you: the Grail exists only to serve. There is no power, no profit, and no immortality in the Holy Grail: there is "Only Emptiness": Being Itself poured out, in compassion, for every "other": there is "Only Love": Boundless, Radiant, Blissful Union: always, always, Welcoming Everyone Home: with no one and nothing left behind or left out...
[Now, for comparison sake, examine the tenets of predatory capitalism, examine the Ryan budget, examine who profits from violence, examine the reasons and ways that women are oppressed and marginalized by many religions and theologies: examine everything that you can: and then turn the page of your life into one of living delight: become a sacred activist; for the Planet and for the possibility of our Conscious Evolution into the very "voluptuousness" of One Love...]
Religion: does it make you want to kill someone? Does it increase your readiness to die? Religion: that old bugaboo: more and more people are becoming fanatical and intolerant of anyone and everything other than "their" religion: instead of living in the discovery of the Infinite, more and more people are hunkering down in the "safety" of being told by someone else how to think and what to believe... and at the very same time, more and more people are turning away from organized religion because they -- at the very least -- have discovered that they have eyes that can see: all of the justifications for intolerance, for the theological oppression of women, and the justifications for violence are not -- truly -- of "religion": but of power hungry men who simply use religion for their own ends.
Do you sincerely want to get into the simple essence of religion? Here's where you could begin: go to a second-hand bookstore and purchase a copy of the Bible. Take it home -- and when no one is looking -- open it to the Sermon on the Mount: tear out the entire Sermon (one of the most probable teachings of Yeshua the Poet of Nazareth): carefully cut out all of the following words: "You have heard it said"... and ... "But I say unto you"... Now throw everything else away! Yes, you are reading this correctly -- throw away everything but those words, repeated a number of times in this Sermon by Yeshua. For at least a year -- for some folks it will probably need to be longer -- preface as many of your thoughts as you can with: "You have heard it said": and then in the very pregnant pause that you will increasingly hear in your thought patterns, repeat the words of Yeshua: "But I say unto you"... The simple essence of religion wipes clean the mind of our habitual thought patterns and reveals this Divine Secret: we (each one of us) have been created by Love, for Love, to become Love: everything which nudges us further and deeper into the direct experience of this essential truth can be embraced and cherished. By the very same token, everything that pushes us away from this total identification with Love, needs to go the way of "You have heard it said" -- into the garbage bin where it belongs... Yeshua the Poet brought a spiritual rEvolution to the table of humanity -- that his gift was expropriated by men for their own ends, instead of for the full development and liberation of every person and of human history, is of course, not exactly surprising... for it fits into the very same pattern that is afflicting every major world religion and many of the male leaders / priests / gurus / and sheikhs of these same religions: power that does not serve, lift up, and free is always an abuse of power: and power that expresses itself in domination and not in liberation is an abomination!
The simple essence of religion? How about this line from "The Forty Rules of Love" (A Novel of Rumi) by Elif Shafak: "One hand pointed up to the sky, the other hand pointing down to earth, every speck of love we receive from God, we pledge to distribute to the people." The simple essence of religion is always a "competition" of kindness: who can love more? Me or God? And then a life of active love! The simple essence of religion is always a revelation of tolerance, mercy, compassion, beauty, justice, peace, harmony, reconciliation, forgiveness, nonviolence, and equality: for everyone -- leaving no one out or behind. The simple essence of religion is always the gentle freedom to explore, grow, change, seek, develop, and liberate one's mind, heart, and life in personal and unique ways.
The simple essence of religion is always the enlightenment of "welcome home" and the realization that home was the one place that we never really left.
The human person has been created by Love, for Love, to become Love... this is a journey of the Heart and into the Heart... it is a dance, a whirl, a bow, a touch... it is an ecstatic movement of the isolated, solitary, ego into the Unity of the transcendental and immanent: re-created into One Love...
This essential journey into the "Paradise of the Heart" is the full realization of life's purpose and meaning: only "This" paradise can put into perspective every life event and transform "event" into "ah!"... it's like the tips of your fingers tracing love-circles on the Great Belly of God: but not just for you, but for the delight of the entire Universe! Rumi says, "It is time... time to be totally free... time to give up our souls, to set fire to structures and run out into the street... Time to ferment... Spread your wings as a tree lifts in the orchard. A seed scattered on the road, a stone melting to wax, candle becoming moth... With our faces so close to the love mirror, we must not breathe, but rather change to a cleared place where the building was and feel the treasure hiding in us... With no beginning or end, we live in lovers as a story they know... If you will be the key, we will be tumblers in the lock." We are infinitely intimate with the Cosmic Consciousness: the Holy One, our Beloved Friend: just as we are infinitely intimate with every other human being, every creature, and all of creation: we are One: and that One is Love: not a mamby-pamby-one-more-under-the-boardwalk-love (however delightful that might be), but an obliteration of ego into its Original Sacred Identity: the "What if? before the Big Bang"...
Do you look at your life and see only a "thorn"? If so, that too is okay... just move a little bit closer to the Rose... Have you hurt someone and has someone hurt you (of course, you are a human being!)? ...Just move a little bit closer to the Rose... Does 'religion' give you a sort-of sick feeling in your gut? ...That's okay, just move a little bit closer to the Rose... Do you have secrets that humble your heart -- and scare you away from the Divine? Don't worry! The Divine has no memory -- save for every act of Love! ...And so you can move a little bit closer to the Rose... Are you worried about how to say that you are sorry -- and perhaps also about what your family and friends will think? ...Well, will it help to know that everyone is exactly the same? ...So feel free to move a little bit closer to the Rose: let the scent of the Rose of Love fill your mind, body, and soul: let that scent caress you into your Paradise Heart... let the soft petals of the Rose tickle your face, slide down your neck, swirl around your nipples, down your belly, through your swelling genitals, down your legs, and curling all around your feet... You need to know how sacred, holy, and beautiful you are! Understand: your true self is already the Rose... and the Rose is the Divine... and the gift of your life is this journey of return to the Paradise of the Heart... "Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, fire worshiper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It does not matter that you have broken your vow a thousand times, still come, and yet again come." (Rumi).
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.